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“amok probably my favorite khmer dish. Similar to the lao moke but i think the texture and the seafood elements for my palate work wonderfully.  This is a to-die-for-dish!”

Amok is a Cambodian curry which is steamed instead of boiled and is solid, but moist. There are traditionally two types of amok, one cooked with fish or other foods for example chicken, and steamed in banana leaf cups, simply known as amok, while the other, made from snails steamed in their shells, is known as amok chouk. 

Ingredients :

  • 400 g (14 oz)meaty fish or mixed seafood (such as baby calamari, mussels, oyster, scallops, shrimp, lobster meat)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut cream
  • 2 cups (480 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 dried red chillies, soaked, drained and chopped into a paste 
  • 3 cloves garlic 
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) galangal, cut small 
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon grass stalk 
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) turmeric
  • zest of ¼ keffir lime 
  • 1 tsp ( 5 ml)salt 
  • 1 tbsp ( 15 ml)kapi (a shrimp paste) 
  • 300 g ( 10 oz) young slok gno leaves (Morinda Citrifolia) leaves (substitute: sacred basil or basil annise) 
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) fish sauce 
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) kaffir lime leaves, sliced thinly 
  • 3 cayenne peppers 
  • banana leaves to make cups 
note: the galangal, lemon grass & keffir lime leaves can all be left essentially uncut and removed prior to serving if wished. 

© Used with kind permission of Rachael G
Making banana leave cups 
  1. first clean the leaves with a wet cloth, then dip them into boiling water so they are soft and do not crack when being shaped. 
  2. Cut circles 25-cm ( 10 inches)  in diameter and place two together. This is important as one leaf is not strong enough to hold the mixture. 
  3. Mark a square in the middle of the circle; this will be the bottom of the cup. 
  4. Then, put a thumb on one right angle of the square and pull up 2 sides, tucking the fold, and pinning together with a tiny bamboo stick. Then move the next right and repeat. Continue until all 4 sides of the cup are held together. 

There is another option and that is to cook it in another vessel. When it's cooked transfer the amok into a fresh coconut with a section removed from the top. This is then a communal serve rather than individual serves. The easiest way to serve the amok from the coconut is with a parfait spoon :) 
  1. first make the kroeung, then slice the catfish (or ocean crustacean) thinly and set aside. Remove nhor from stem; slice the kaffir lime leaves and cayenne peppers thinly. 
  2. Stir the kroeung into 1 cup ( 240 ml) of coconut milk, and when it has dissolved, add the egg, fish sauce and sliced fish. Then add the remaining coconut milk and mix well. 
  3. Make the banana leave cups, and then put the yor leaves in first, and top with the fish mixture. Steam for about 20 minutes or until the coconut milk is solid, but still moist. Before serving top each cup with coconut cream and garnish with keffir leaf and cayenne peppers. 
  4. Serve with steamed rice.
An alternative presentation is to use a coconut as the serving vessel. Diners can take the amok with a spoon and transfer to their own plate. The coconut meat lining the coconut is a treat itself.

Alternatively a smaller dried coconut can be used as a ramikin to serve individual Amok.
The image above has used this presentation.

Finally there is a multi sectioned glazed eathenware or unglazed terracotta tray where each segment holds about a desert/table-spoonful of teh amok. The amok is steamed in this platter and served at the table from this. Each compartment has a small glazed lid which is removed from each serving by the diners.

All the serving options visually enhance this dish